07/02/2018 13:17 GMT | Updated 07/02/2018 14:31 GMT

Dennis Skinner Claims Tony Blair's Government Was A 'Golden Period'

Well, that was unexpected.

Left-wing stalwart Dennis Skinner has described former PM Tony Blair’s time in office as a ‘golden period’.

The Bolsover MP - who turns 86 on Sunday - unexpectedly used Prime Minister’s Questions to heap praise on the 1997-2010 Labour government. 

He called on Theresa May to introduce a 1% tax rise to fund the NHS - as then-Chancellor Gordon Brown did in 2002.

The ardent Jeremy Corbyn supporter said: “There is another group of people that need help - the people that work in the National Health Service.

“And what they told me last week was the best period they ever experienced was in the Labour government, when they had the money increased from £33 billion in 1997 to £100 billion in 2010. 

“That was a golden period.”

He added: “How did they do it?  The Chancellor of the Exchequer put 1% on the national insurance, and in hypothecation terms that went directly to the health service.  It’s called long-term stability. 

“Under this government, they do not know whether they are coming or going.

“It’s high time this government did the same as we did between ’97 and 2010. Get moving.”

In response, May said Blair’s government had been able to invest in public services because “a Conservative government had left a golden economic legacy”.